Re: NTSE Report #1 (fwd)

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 20:47:08 -0600

At 08:29 AM 2/26/97 -0500, Murphy wrote:

> 1) I do not suggest that we start by saying to people in so
>many words that their views of Genesis are "naive".

I would agree. It is bad tactics and gets people like me to write notes.:-)

> I've mentioned this before. When discussing Gen.1 & 2 or the
>gospel accounts in church classes, I give people a sheet with 2 accounts
>of Lincoln's death. One is from a good Lincoln bio (B. Thomas) with the
>events at Ford's Theater described "as they really happened" - with
>appropriate historian's qualifications about uncertainties! The other
>is Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain". With a little discussion, people
>easily see that both accounts can convey truth about Lincoln's death,
>that Whitman's should not be "harmonized" historically with Thomas's, &
>that the former in some ways conveys best what Lincoln's death _meant_.
>Whitman's poem would be "false history" if one insisted on reading it
>_as_ historical narrative & thinking it said Lincoln really did die on
>board a ship. But that isn't how to read it.

I don't see the real issue as being Genesis 1. Having barely escaped my last
english class with a C for an inability to produce Freudian analyses of the
characters in Faulkner's Light in August (demanded by a "English for
non-English majors" class) I have not fallen in love with literature. That
being the case, I don't have a copy of that poem. But if I recall it does
not conform to a journalistic account because the poem does not give the
features of such an account, like details on,

sometimes how

I think you might be able to get away with saying that Genesis 1 does not
fit such a formula.

But Genesis 1 is not the account that bothers me most. But it is the one
most assume is the bothersome passage. It is Genesis 4-12. In these
chapters, it appears written much like Kings or Chronicles in which you get

who: Noah, Cain, Terah,etc...
what: built boat, killed brother, moved to Haran etc...
when: his 600th year, after a sacrifice, after his 70th year etc....
where: on the land, in the field, in Syria etc...
why: God told him to, his sacrifice was rejected, God told Abram etc...
how: boat made of gopher wood, unknown unknown, etc...

My point is that if most of these accounts were in Kings, you would have no
reason to doubt the account.These parts of the account have all the aspects
of journalistic history.

How would I interpret each of the lives described in Genesis 4-12 in a
"Captain,My Captain" manner? I don't think it can be done. The accounts in
Kings provide the same level of detail and are considered attempts at
conveying actual history.

Thus my belief that if we don't provide an account for this passage which
makes it fit observational data, we have lost the battle. The YECs are
telling lots of people what they want to hear, that the Biblical account of
Genesis 4-12 is historical but their account can't fit data.


Foundation, Fall and Flood